Silver Lining For The Local Authorities Amidst The Rise In Violence
The police departments of Cancun and the rest of Quintana Roo have released data suggesting a strong increase in the effectiveness of the force against crime. The news comes amidst a broader increase in violent crime.
The announcement will be good news for the local government, as they struggle to contain the violence that is currently gripping the state. According to the Ministry of Public Security, there has been a significant reduction in high-impact crimes, including murder and kidnapping, comforting news for most. The statistics suggest a notable drop in kidnapping, extortion, business robbery, and murder. Kidnapping and extortion in particular have seen a large drop in the state.
Placed into context, the numbers may not be as reassuring, as Cancun still finds itself in the top ten most dangerous cities in the country and the top fifty most dangerous worldwide. But finding the silver lining in what has been a year of two halves for the state is promising. It means that the security protocols being utilized are functioning successfully at some level, especially in regards to how it affects tourists.
The bigger picture is far more complicated, and the violence the state is experiencing will not go away overnight Sadly, the success of the state is also the primary fuel for organized crime. Tourists and the high levels of drug usage they bring create the market that drives the organized criminals behind much of the violence.
Although most tourists are visiting with good intentions and not partaking in any illegal activities, many view Mexico as if laws don’t apply in the same manner. The government has been combatting this view using campaigns to try and shock visitors into understanding drugs of all kinds are still illegal in the country.
Several initiatives have been brought in to combat problems on the side of the authorities. Police background checks have become more thorough and the repercussions for corruption have become more severe. It’s hoped this will help build trust between visitors and the police force who are supposed to be protecting them. The Police force in Mexico has a bad reputation for extorting tourists, threatening them with arrest if they don’t pay immediate fines, something that is never supposed to happen.
Cancun once ranked first in the country for extortion, but the new report suggests it has dropped to 16th in Mexico. This is an extremely large drop, especially considering the high volumes of tourists flooding through the city.
Tourists visiting Cancun are almost always safe, and if an offense is committed, it is more likely to be a scam, pickpocketing, or other forms of petty crime- often things that can be prevented with common sense and extra care. Some statistics suggest that visitors to Cancun are even safer than those to Paris and Las Vegas, something that may seem hard to believe considering the city’s murder rate.
The bigger concern for tourists right now may be ending up as collateral damage. Multiple attacks in recent weeks have seen the violence drawing closer to the hotel zone, with multiple incidents erupting in Downtown Cancun. Again, tourists were not the target, but those present risk being caught in the middle.
The government is continuing to bring in more protocols to safeguard the state, including an expansion of the C5 security surveillance system and the continued presence of the Tourist Security Battalion who patrol the beaches and hotel zones of Cancun, Tulum, and Playa del Carmen.
Figures are still strong for the summer, suggesting tourists are not as worried by the violence as would be expected and are doing a good job of separating organized crime from petty tourist crime.
Those traveling to Cancun in the near future should continue to take extra care outside of the hotel zone and have their own safety precautions in place.
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